Friday, May 23, 2008

Joy in Suffering

That doesn't sound like a very encouraging title, does it? But I'm learning it's very true.

If we want to experience joy, we must experience suffering. What? you ask.

It's true. I mean, how can I truly understand heat if I haven't experienced cold? How can I truly enjoy sweet if I haven't tasted sour? How can I exult in joy if I haven't felt the despair that comes with suffering?

The few days that I feel relatively well are better and brighter because of the days that I feel unwell. It's true.

But even more, the joy from suffering comes when I see how God uses my suffering to encourage others.

True joy comes from seeing how God provides encouragement and hope to others through me. And I wouldn't be able to encourage victims of abuse or a woman struggling with infertility or the spiritually single if I hadn't gone through the suffering.

So yes, there is joy in the suffering because I know what God can do through the suffering.

Thank you, Lord, for the reminder that all suffering can bring joy as we see how You work through it. Thank You for letting me experience the valleys so I can revel in the mountaintops.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Consider What Great Things

I've been reading in 1 Samuel the last several days, and I came across a verse that I'm sure I've read before . . . but it really touched my heart this time.

1 Samuel 12: 24 says, "Only fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you."

These words are so true. I should desire to serve the Lord with all my heart because He has done great and amazing things for me.

When I wrote my book, The Best Laid Plans, I talked a lot about hindsight, looking back over what God's done in our lives. In fact, I call it the "gift" of hindsight. And it truly is a gift. God has protected me, strengthened me, blessed me beyond expectation. He's carried me through the hard times, and even when I wanted nothing to do with Him, He remained by my side.

So I really should desire to reverence Him (in case you don't know, that's what "fear" means in that verse) and serve Him.

And most importantly, I need to remember His goodness to me, to consider those "great things."

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Time Flies . . .

My maternal grandmother used to talk about time flying on wings of eagles (or something like that), and I actually think it flies on the wings of hummingbirds. Have you ever seen how rapidly hummingbirds' wings move? So quickly, they're just a blur.

That's how time seems to be flying for me. I try to add to this blog at least every other week, and I realized that over a MONTH had flown by since my last entry.

So . . . since then, my husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversary with a wonderful ten-day cruise. I've now fallen in love with Costa Rica and Jamaica . . .

Seeing amazing illustrations of God's creativity was such a blessing. From the desert island of Aruba to the lush rain forest of Costa Rica to the incredible power of Dun's River Falls in Jamaica . . . I wonder how anyone can look at the diverse beauty of this world and not believe in a Divine Designer.

And to think, He designed all of this just for our pleasure. What an amazing God we serve!!

Speaking of divine designs, I'm preparing to speak at a retreat this weekend, appropriately titled "Divine Design." We're ALL divine designs . . . and we're adored by our Designer. Think about that for a moment. You are divinely designed. You are a masterpiece. You. Pretty cool, huh?